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Do Entrepreneurs Need to Be Crazy?

And if they are, can they ever make a successful CEO?

If you've ever started a company, you might have a disorder.

That's the thesis of the Inc. 500|5000 debate between Jay Goltz, CEO of the Goltz Group and author of The Street Smart Entrepreneur, and Phil Patrick, founder of PharmaStrat, a boutique strategy consulting and market research services firm.

The panel's title, Are Entrepreneurs Too Crazy to Make Good CEOs, is really a question in two parts. One: Are entrepreneurs crazy? The second part (because, well, let's face it, everyone who's extraordinarily passionate is at least a little insane): Are they too crazy to be highly effective leaders?

A panel of judges pondered three rounds of questioning structured around three potential disorders allegedly plaguing entrepreneurs everywhere:

1. HypoMania
Literally "below mania," it is a persistent elevated mood characterized by a decreased need for sleep, and extremely outgoing personality, competitiveness, and a great deal of energy. However, unlike full "mania," hypomaniacs are fully functioning and are actually more productive than others.
—Adapted from Websters

2. Delusions of Grandeur
A delusion in which one believes oneself possessed of great importance, power, wealth, intellect, or ability.
—American Heritage Medical Dictionary

3. Narcissism
A consuming self-absorption or self-love; a type of egotism. Narcissists constantly assess their appearance, desires, feelings, and abilities.
—American Heritage Culture Dictionary

While Goltz and Patrick duke this one out, let's let our readers—amongst whom are a lot of successful entrepreneurs and CEOs—have a say: Are you a little crazy?

Last updated: Sep 23, 2011

CHRISTINE LAGORIO-CHAFKIN | Staff Writer | Senior Writer

Christine Lagorio-Chafkin is a writer, editor, and reporter whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Village Voice, and The Believer, among other publications. She is a senior writer at Inc.

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